Four Blues players have been included in the All Blacks team to face Argentina at Estadio Ciudad de La Plata in La Plata on Saturday.
Ma’a Nonu is the only Blues player to start as he lines up at second five-eighths outside Dan Carter who returns from injury, while Keven Mealamu, Piri Weepu and Charlie Faumuina are named on the bench.
The team is as follows: (with Test caps in brackets)
1. Tony Woodcock (89)
2. Andrew Hore (69)
3. Owen Franks (38)
4. Luke Romano (5)
5.Samuel Whitelock (32)
6. Liam Messam (14)
7. Richie McCaw – captain (110)†
8. Kieran Read (42)
9. Aaron Smith (7)
10. Daniel Carter (89)
11. Julian Savea (4)
12. Ma’a Nonu (70)
13. Conrad Smith (60)
14. Cory Jane (35)
15. Israel Dagg (19)
16. Keven Mealamu (97)
17. Charlie Faumuina (2)
18. Brodie Retallick (7)
19. Sam Cane (2)
20. Piri Weepu (63)
21. Aaron Cruden (15)
22. Ben Smith (7)
All Blacks vice-captain Daniel Carter has returned to the starting XV, with the first five-eighths recovering from the calf injury that kept him out of the All Blacks last Test against South Africa 12 days ago.†
Aaron Smith is at halfback with Piri Weepu on the bench together with Aaron Cruden and Ben Smith. There is just one change to the forwards bench with loose forward Sam Cane making his first match day 22 appearance in the Investec Rugby Championship.
All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “We have huge respect for the Pumas, who have shown in the tournament just how good they are, and we are expecting even more from them this weekend as they are playing at home in front of their passionate fans.”
“The team has really enjoyed the build-up in Buenos Aires and the culture that the country has to offer, but we know that it will be down to business on Saturday and the team are excited by that challenge,” he added.
The All Blacks have played Argentina in 15 Tests since 1985, with the last Test in Wellington earlier this month. The All Blacks have won 14 times with a 21-all draw in 1985.
Daniel Carter and Tony Woodcock will be playing their 90th Tests this weekend while Andrew Hore will play his 70th Test.
Richie McCaw will play in his 44th Tri Nations / Rugby Championship game – a record for a New Zealand player.